Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In Rhythms Yoga: Tuesday Morning Goddess Squat

Sink into Goddess Squat, Utkata Konasana, or victory squat, in order to build strength in the quads, inner thighs, shoulders, arms, upper back and core. Goddess Squat also stretches the groins, hips, and chest and is a good pose in preparation for childbirth, creating more opening in the pelvis.

To do Utkata Konasana: While standing, step the right foot out wide. Turn the toes out to a 45 degree angle and keep the heels slightly inward. Take a deep inhale and bring the arms out wide like wings, in line with the shoulders. On an exhale breath, begin to bend the knees, sinking the hips low and in-line with the knees.  Align the knees over the ankles for support and health of the joints. Extend the tailbone done t
owards the ground and energetically, rotate the inner thighs outward.

Turn the thumbs up towards the sky, so that the palms are facing forward. Begin to bend the elbows, pointing the fingertips up towards the sky and keep the elbows in line with the shoulders. Spread the fingers open wide. Feel the opening in the chest and shoulders.

Option to take a hasta mudra, or hand gesture to complement the posture. The mudra used in the photograph is called, Gyan Mudra, representing knowledge and helps to bring a calmness to the body. Gently touch the tips of the thumb and forefinger together, and begin to straighten through the remaining fingers.

If extending the arms is not accessible in the body, due to tight or injured shoulders, bring the palms to touch at the heart center. Continue to create opening in the chest, in between the collarbones, while drawing the shoulder blades down the back.

In order to maintain integrity in the posture, continue to breathe while using smooth and even inhales and exhales. Keep the chest lifted and draw the shoulder blades flush to the back. Imagine that you have the support of the wall behind you and work to maintain a tall, straight back. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 rounds of breath, inhales and exhales. Option to take a second round in order to build more strength, focus, and heat in the body.

 Practice tapas, or focused and determined energy while in the pose. All too often, we expend our energy in various directions as we multi-task throughout the day. Instead, focus on the breath, and maintain integrity in the posture. This is an opportunity to consciously practice being present in the moment.

To come out: Release the hands to the sides and begin to straighten the legs back to standing. Bring the feet together and the hands to the heart. Pause and notice how you feel after creating heat and tapas in the body. Allow the breath to calm.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info. IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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